Sepia Saturday - Boston Post Cane



The Boston Post Cane was a marketing tool used by the former Boston Post Newspaper Company. The idea was to corner the rural reader market. They presented over 700 gold tipped ebony canes to the selectmen of towns in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Each canes tip is engraved with the words. "Boston Post Cane - (name of the town) - presented to the oldest resident." The canes were not given to cities.

The town selectman were to act as the trustees of the cane and award it to the oldest town resident. It was to be passed on to the successive oldest town residents.

Many of the canes have been lost in the 100 years since they were first awarded but several towns still have them. Most towns now award a replica or a plaque to honor the oldest resident, keeping the cane in safe hands at the Town Hall.

I came across this news clipping in our family albums. Arthur Peabody was my great grandfather. I can remember asking to see this cane but he would never let us see it. As is the caption states, "he declined to hold it (the cane) for the photo." He was a proud man and apparently had no use for a cane in his last years. He died at the age of 96.

Pride and longevity runs deep in our family as Arthur's son, my grandfather, was the recipient of the same Boston Post cane. He also refused to hold it for a news photographer. He died at the age of 96.

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